Beef, Tomato, and Pepper Stir-Fry
Don’t let the various steps in this popular Cantonese dish fool you; it’s fairly easy to make and the results are delicious. As with all stir-fries, the dish is very versatile. Instead of tomatoes, bell pepper, and Chinese salted black beans, try using broccoli, green beans, or bok choy with fresh ginger (or any other combo that strikes your fancy). Served with a bowl of freshly steamed rice, it makes a no-fuss complete meal.
Chinese Salted Black Beans (Fermented Black Beans, Dow See):
Chinese salted black beans are actually soybeans preserved in salt. Ubiquitous in Chinese stir-fries, marinades, and sauces, they develop their dark color, salty flavor, and slightly bitter aftertaste through oxidation. Look for shiny, firm beans available in clear cellophane packages in the dried beans section (Mee Chun brand). They need no refrigeration and keep well for about a year in a tightly sealed container away from light. Before cooking, soak in hot water for about 10 minutes, or at least rinse in several changes of cold water to remove excess salt.
Makes4 to 6 servings as part of a multicourse family-style meal
Cooking Time45 min
Cooking Time - Text45
Total Timeunder 1 hour
OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Family Get-together
Recipe Coursemain course
Dietary Considerationmain course
Taste and Texturemeaty, salty, umami
- 1 pound round steak
- 1 tablespoon Shaoxing rice wine or dry sherry
- 1 tablespoon oyster sauce
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
- 1 clove garlic, smashed with the flat part of a cleaver or a large knife
- 2 teaspoons Chinese salted black beans (see Notes), rinsed and drained
- 1 medium yellow onion, cut into 8 to 10 wedges and separated
- 1 medium green bell pepper, cut into 10 to 12 strips
- 2 stalks celery, trimmed and sliced on the diagonal
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch dissolved in 3 tablespoons water to form a slurry
- 2 ripe medium tomatoes, each cut into 8 wedges
Handle the beef partially frozen so that it is easier to cut (if it’s fresh, place in the freezer for about 30 minutes). Cut the beef along the grain into 1½ -inch-thick strips. Then, with your knife at an angle almost parallel to the cutting surface, slice the meat diagonally across the grain into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
In a medium bowl, toss the beef with the rice wine, oyster sauce, sugar, and 1 tablespoon soy sauce. Cover the bowl and let the meat marinate in the refrigerator for 10 minutes, or up to 12 hours.
Preheat a large wok or skillet over high heat for 1 minute. Swirl in 1 tablespoon of the oil and heat until it becomes runny and starts to shimmer. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 15 to 30 seconds; discard the garlic (you just want to flavor the oil). Add the salted black beans and onion and stir for 1 minute. Add the bell pepper and celery and stir-fry until crisp-tender, 2 minutes. Set aside in a bowl.
In the same wok, swirl in the remaining oil and heat over high heat. Divide the marinated meat into 4 batches. Stir-fry one batch for about 2 minutes (don’t worry if the meat is still a little pink), and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining batches of meat.
Return the cooked vegetables to the wok over high heat. Add the cooked meat and stir everything swiftly around the wok until heated through, about 1 minute. Stir the cornstarch slurry and add to the wok. Toss to coat the meat and vegetables evenly. Cook until the mixture thickens and the meat and vegetables look glossy, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon soy sauce. Continue tossing until heated through, about another minute. Taste and adjust seasonings if desired. Serve immediately with freshly steamed rice.
2009, 2011 Patricia Tanumihardja